This Summer Laura and I did some photographical work for a friend Laura had met the previous Summer in Seattle at a street market. The project this friend was undertaking is a boutique-ish line of natural and fair-trade wool clothing made in Uruguay. The project, called El Origin Wool, has features many beautiful ideas as well as fashion, even though I myself don’t care that much for fashion itself. Friend of the project, Annie Costner, was all kinds of fun to work with and I was very happy to do some film photography for the shoot. Most of the highlights of which were posted by Laura at our collaborative website, Drt & Ink, and the digitals along with a great writeup about El Origin have been posted on Laura’s blog. (Recognize the scooter in those shots? Thats my Kermit..)
Heart of mine! What strange surprises
Mount aloft on such a stair!
Some great vision upward rises,
Curving, bending, floating fair.
This is Michal Angela Wilson. Dear friend, genuine soul. Portland, Oregon, December 2009.
This summer I’ve gained two new friends in Portland, both of which I’ve enjoyed the summer with.
Manolin the bike:
Kermit the Vespa:
(Vespa photo courtesy of Laura Dart who’s in town this week)
I thought perhaps I should post this since I mentioned it in my previous post.
What happened was that my friends Ryan and Holly and their son Pax had planted a single Allium flower next to the sidewalk at their house and Pax would run out an get excited to see the flower every time they came out the front door. Some time last week, someone cut off the flower and stole it, leaving Holly with the task of explaining to her two year old what happened to the flower – now every time they went outside. Holly left a note describing this, hoping the theif would see the note on their next trip past the house, and at its very least understand the implications of their actions.
So a couple days ago, there appeared another Allium plant, in a pot, on the doorstep. Its impossible to tell whether it was put there by a guilty-feeling thief or an empathetic neighbor, but Pax quickly regained his love and excitement for the flower as they planted it in the yard, replacing the old one. See Holly’s blog about it here. I hope she doesn’t mind me telling the story.
Daniel, who is staying with me for a while in Ryan and Holly’s basement, and I were about as excited and happy to see Pax so happy perhaps as he and his parents were. It was a beautiful day in the Sunnyside neighborhood.
This is Pax hugging his gifted flower:
I’ve traveled quite a distance in the past month or two. I have traveled to different parts of the country recently, though these are not the travel I refer to. Really, where I stand now is not so noticeably different from whatever vague moment could be considered a beginning. I only mention this because I’ve been what feels to me like racing through time, thoughts, emotions.Less of a journey through space, however, more of a journey through circumstances, intuitions, and feelings.
Travel of any kind always feels like a video on fast-forward, a feeling only reinforced by the speed with which a setting passes while driving in a car or the speed with which one experience or thought, feeling as though it will carry reverberation with you for a life time, is soon replaced with the next feeling deserving the same consideration as the last. It seems it was the rainy winter of Portland only a few days ago, and somehow all these memories from the past several months were only packed into the passing notions of a spontaneous song, soon to be forgotten as soon as my mind moves on to what’s next. I don’t desire to live life this way, and hopefully steps I take to form a better life for myself and for those around me will do just that. Slowness is my honest desire.
What I’m most troubled by is that I have no idea how this works. I have no idea to achieve that, and as the cliché goes, I’m stumbling blindly. So blind, in fact, I’m not sure whether I’m moving at all or simply standing with a hand reaching out for another’s.
I spent time in Laurelhurst Park this evening near my house, a large park with a duck pond. The ducks and I are commonly acquainted, and they often suggest ideas to me I haven’t yet considered.
It occurred to me while at the park how good people are, particularly in my neighborhood. This is one reason this was on my mind, and here is a picture I took of Pax. This goodness is a goodness I’m not use to. Small town Nebraska, ultra-conservative Colorado Springs, yuppie-ville Hood River. This isn’t a rag on those places, because they are good places too. They may lack this certain kind goodness, but there are things Portland lacks as well, and there’s something about this place that feels like home without my having to coerce my mind into believing so. Its something about my life I likely cannot explain to those other places and may not have understood before I arrived where I now stand.
This goodness I’ve found in places here where I now live is a goodness I would only have speculated about or understood in idealism. Consequently I feel much less than adequate or worthy of living in such a place. That sounds extra cheap, I’m sure. Self-pitiful, whatever. What does one do when they know not how to acclamate old lives with new ones, the new ones they’ve searched for and somehow found? What does one do when they feel the momentum of past expectations and behaviors dragging them beyond what those constructs were suppose to bring them to? or when they cannot turn sharp enough to escape the ruts circling the campfire to get to the campfire itself?
I have no answer for that. I only have friends near and far who’ve heard my joys and sorrows, and the words of those who express what I otherwise cannot.
come tortoise, standing still
go hummingbird, my will
come tortoise, stumbling blind
go hummingbird, my eyes
come tortoise, empty hand
go hummingbird, my plan
come tortoise, undefined
go hummingbird, my mind
come tortoise, letting go
go hummingbird, I know
come tortoise, come and die
go hummingbird, my I
This is only a fragment of the rebirth of Portland in the Spring. It was a marvel to live and witness this small corner of the world and its movement back into the greenness and the beautiful days it offers over the summer months. Spring has come and gone, but that growth and excitement carries enough intertia to bring this world around to attempt it all over again, less than a year from now.
We drove to the coast again this weekend, this time to see the whale migration, but were disappointed to find that it was too windy, foggy, and rainy to see anything. The nice gentleman at the coast informed us, however, that only some are migrating right now. We’ll be able to see them all summer long apparently, as long as we pick a day to travel when the ocean isn’t angry and taking it out on whoever comes to see whales.
So since the whale trip was spoiled, we made the most of the afternoon. I took these shots when I arrived back in Portland. I’ll have more to share in a few days.